MMSD SOLICIT CROSS RIVER STATE SUPPORT ON MINING

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has sought the collaboration of Cross River State Government in accelerating the generation of revenue from the Mineral Resources Sector.

The Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah in his address, stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Benedict Ayade on Thursday, 17th September, 2020.

Dr. Ogah disclosed that with the about 33 Mineral deposit in the State, the State could be one of the States to achieve and benefit from the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of diversifying the economy and improve infrastructure for Nigerians, saying that the “Administration’s vision is to build a prosperous economy, eradicate corruption and provide security for all”.

He revealed that the State has 5 out of the 7 priority minerals in the Mining Roadmap. He therefore encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity by ensuring operators follow orderly and efficient mining practice in order to increase its revenue generation, promote sustainable growth in the sector, create employment opportunities for the youths and provide economic empowerment for the host communities.

He Urged the State to provide an enabling environment for mining to thrive in the State by ensuring the provision of infrastructure, maintenance of peace as well as security in mining communities.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Cross River State Prof. Benedict Ayade, stated that the Minister’s visit could not have come at a better time as it was already looking at creating a new prosperity agenda based on solid minerals, since “oil is past, solid mineral is future” for the country’s economic growth.

Prof. Ayade emphasized the need for synergy to fine tune mining Policies for the mutual benefit of all involved. He urged the Federal Government to liaise with the States before mining licenses are issued to operators, adding that the Ministry should issue licenses only after the supervision of the state.

Also, at a Stakeholders Meeting, the Minister tasked operators to operate by mining Regulations and ensure they pay accurate royalties to the Federation Account. Adding that the Weigh Bridge Counter, is a process of ensuring accurate royalties are calculated.

Dr. Ogah emphasized the need for increased synergy between the tiers of government for seamless operations in the sector, especially in the resolution of conflicts, saying “no community has right to stop mining activities in any state”. He therefore called for greater collaboration between the Federal Mining Officer, Commissioner of Mineral Solid Minerals and community leaders.

In his address, the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu said that, with the about 33 minerals it has, the state stands to benefit from the 13% derivative from Mining and tasked operators in the State to abide by the Mining Rules and take Cross River as home.

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Mr. George Obenachi welcomed the need for collaboration as it would increase the income generated from mining.

He appealed to the Ministry to approve Mining Licenses to only investors that have the capacity to mine and bring value to the State, saying “we don’t want portfolio miners”.

Also, the Chairman of Miners Association of Nigeria, Cross River State Chapter, Mr. Ekpeyong Bassey urged the Ministry to intervene in making the conditions of the Solid Mineral loan with the Bank of Industry accessible and available for miners.

Another Miner, Ms. Diamond Sekebo of the Field of Diamond Ltd, sought clearance on the right Government Agency tasked with the collection of levies. She said most miners are made to pay double taxation, as different allege state government agencies come to sites for levy collection. She therefore appealed to the State Government to stop the challenge of double taxation being faced by miners in the State.